A generic list of things to think about when building a house

  • What this guide is and generic advice: 
  • Is a generic list of things to think about when building a house. 
    • It’s not a must do this or else your house is garbage list.  
    • Some things are essentially free. Some are tens of thousands. You don’t have to do it all. 
    • A bit of pre-planning and thinking ahead goes a long way. Spend the money when the walls are open. Getting into walls after the fact is what you want to avoid at all costs. 
    • Be involved.  Ask questions. Your GC (General Contractor) should take the time to educate and provide pros/cons to options.
    • Don’t be that customer. If you don’t know what that is, you’re that customer. Buy a tract home. 
    • If you see something you don’t like tell your GC in writing on a weekly recap email. 
    • Take photos along the way. Take a video of every wall/ceiling before the sheetrock goes up.  Store on google cloud or similar.  Will help in the future to reference where blocking is, pipes, electrical etc. 
    • Site grading is extremely important. Water is the #1 enemy of a house. Keep this in mind with nearly every decision you make. Keep the water out and get it away from the house quickly.  

  • Bathrooms
    • Heated floor in master bathroom
    • Heated shower floor and bench (helps with drying out after a shower preventing mold) 
    • Have the tiler install and wire a second heat probe. These are the piece that fails the most and you cannot install a new one. Minimal extra cost to keep your tile floor heat going longer. 
    • Lights in shower nooks 
    • Shower nooks of correct size for bottles.
    • His and her shower stacks in the master shower.  
    • 1” water supply to shower stack if going his/her.  
    • 3” trap in shower if you go his and her stack. 
    • Outlets in cabinets (hair dryers, razors, etc.)
    • Walled off toilet in master bathroom
    • Bidet toilets, nightlights, outlet next to water supply for bidet. 
    • Automatic panasonic whisper fan with humidity/motion sensor. Wire switch into closet and just leave it on. 
    • Wood blocking in wall for TP holder/ towel racks
    • decoupling/waterproof membranes in all bathrooms. 
    • Prewire for heated towel rack. 

  • Kitchen
    • Walk-in pantry
    • Range hood vented to outside
    • 36” min stove width. 6 burners. Much nicer to use. 
    • Recessed lighting
    • Counter overhang on sink
    • Under-cabinet LED lights pre wired all to one or 2 switches.  Consider night time mode. We leave one under the cabinet LED on all the time. 
    • Heated floor in main standing areas
    • Quartz for countertops is as good as it gets.  Avoid granite. 

  • Waterproofing- 

  • Structural
    • 2×8 exterior walls. 
    • LVL studs
    • Double decking on second floor for a full 1.5” thick floor.  Dual layer with green glue between for noise transfer reduction.  
    • Zip system for exterior sheathing. 
    • https://www.warmboard.com/warmboard-s   or double layer advantec with sound glue between layers. 

  • Insulation
  • Spray foam 
  • T studs for thermal break 
    • Rock wool insulation & green glue in all interior walls for soundproofing

  • Exterior
    • Exterior gas line for grill, porch heater
    • Sprinkler system
    • Conduit to inside (variety of wire runs, etc.)
    • Hose bibs on all four sides of house, ¾”
    • Soft water hose bib in garage for washing cars 
    • Low-voltage wiring to garden areas
    • Hose spigot hookup in far back yard
    • Electric vehicle charging locations if you park outside. 
    • Driveway lighting low voltage
    • Exterior lighting box pre-fab from inside with conduit back to mech room. 
    • Mailbox sign LED light powered
    • Walk paths heated if snowy area
    • Drive heated if you’re really baller 
      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMb4JjBGurA&list=PLdWeMRuZcbQjekwiBk_uy39IS6JFWYORD
    • Eve lighting really sets an exterior as fancy for not a lot of money
    • Eve outlets for christmas lights. 
    • Window supply: https://www.eas-usa.com/

  • Garage
    • Hot/cold hose bibs.   
    • 2.5 car, extra depth 
    • Man Door to outside
    • Floor Drain with slope
    • Radiant floor heating (if location gets snow heat on its own zone the garage door area out to 2’ beyond. Reduces icing)
    • Natural gas line/lineset for HVAC pre-installed in walls. Consider location of outdoor AC unit for noise. 
    • Built-in storage
    • Bathroom access directly from garage.  Shower in this bathroom is ideal.  Durable finishes. Larger trap size
    • Sub panel pre-wired for future needs in garage.  100a min. All garage outlets should be on this sub panel. 
    • Slop sink with over sized 3” drain. Concrete if possible. Stainless if not.  A sink you won’t care about putting anything down. Big enough for a mop bucket. 

  • Basement
    • 10’ ceiling
    • Sloped deeper section for home theater 
    • 2” polystyrene extruded foam insulation
    • Recessed lighting
    • Extra money to not have posts. Or consider post locations ahead of time. 
    • Interior french drain to 2 sumps with their own sump pumps. 

  • Electrical/HVAC/Utility

  • Plumbing
    • Mud room with floor drain Plumbing 
    • Hot and cold faucet in garage
    • Valve shut offs for fridge in cabinet. No moving fridge. 
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1UEdHNSBpw
  • ¾” supply size for outside hose bibs.  Much better flow rates
  • PEX pipes in a home run system
  • ⅜” lines for sinks to reduction water waste. 
  • Recirculation system for normally used fixtures
  • Tankless or hybrid water heater(s)
  • 4×3 90 for toilet elbows.  Allows the tilers to fit up tight against it and seals any future leaks from getting into the wood below it
  • Hardline toilet supply lines. Never have a failure that way. 
  • 2 ¼ turn ball cut offs prior to meter if you’re on city water. Lord knows one will leak when the day comes you need to turn water off to the house. 
  • Leaksmart.com for leak detection or similar 
  • Uponor fire sprinkler system https://www.uponor-usa.com/en/residential-solutions#fire-safety
  • Clean outs under kitchen and bathroom sinks. 
  • Minimal vents thru roof with pre-planning. 
  • Consider cast iron vertical piping to reduce water noise
  • Heating system layouts on finished wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyErCGuEKDA

  • Home Connectivity
  • Find a central location for your network.  
    • Wire dedicated power to it. 
    • Run multiple ethernet runs to every bedroom on opposite walls
    • 4x runs to offices, living room TV area, home theater. 
    • Install smurf tub from this network central location to attic/basement for future expansion
    • Consider noise and cooling needs for location
    • Wire camera locations for security. 
    • Ceiling mounted access points for wifi work a lot better than on some shelf. Pre-wire for these locations. 
    • 12 gauge CL2-rated speaker wires run throughout house for home audio future

  • Interior

  • Miscellaneous

 

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